NUE Marathon Race Series #9 presented by Hammer Nutrition
By Ryan O’Dell
In 1809, 81 year old General John Stark, a Revolutionary War Soldier from New Hampshire, declined an invitation to a Battle of Bennington reunion because he was ill. Since he could not make the event, he sent a letter with the quote “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” that was to be read for the toast. New Hampshire later used part of this toast for their State motto: Live Free or Die. The Hampshire 100, now the NUE Crotched Mountain 100, lives on with the same ideals and the same rugged, rocky course racers have come to expect from the Granite State.
Following last year’s retirement of beloved NUE Hampshire 100 founder and race director Randy Whitney, who led the race successfully for a full decade, this year’s race was renamed “Crotched Mountain 100” and moved from Greenfield Park to its new location at Crotched Mountain Resort, formerly an aid station along the same race course.
Under the leadership of new race director, Andy Gendron, this year’s race maintained the same course and divisions but moved from Sunday to Saturday offering free camping at the resort, outdoor showers, BBQ, games, plus two great brews from Baxter Brewing including Stowaway IPA, a new Imperial Hefeweizen, and live music on both Friday and Saturday.
A nonstop soaking rain greeted riders all day on Friday with much conversation centered on what the nearly 2.5 inches of rain in a single day would mean to course conditions.
Toops wins! Leads NUE Marathon Race Series!
OMBC Ohio Race Series Defending Champion and NUE Marathon Race Series points’ leader, Jen Toops, Paradise Garage Racing, demonstrated her strength with a convincing win in 7:04:34. In a bid for the NUE 100k title, Toops has a near perfect score of 5, leading the NUE Marathon Women’s Race Series with wins at Big Frog 65 and Tatanka 100 along with her second place finish at the Mohican 100k in one of the largest women’s fields this season.
“My husband and I loaded up the transit and headed off to NH to ride some new terrain. I wasn’t sure how the race would go after going over the bars last week. My lock out lever punctured my thigh all the way to the muscle earning myself a few stitches.
It rained the whole twelve hour drive, while we set up camp, and while we went to bed. I woke up to a foggy morning which gave way to a beautiful sunny day!
A quick racers meeting at 6:30 and we were off racing. The race started out fast and I settled into my own pace making sure I was out front going into singletrack first for the ladies. I knew it was going to be a long day due to course conditions. This was my first time riding in the New England area. The singletrack was challenging: tight, twisty and rocky with lots of wet slippery roots and very little areas for recovery. I was glad I brought my Pivot Mach 4 instead of the hardtail!
I saw another 100k female at aid 2 as I was leaving, so I picked up the pace and really pushed it on the road. I finished the first lap, switched my pack out, and started the second lap. The soft wet grassy climb out of the ski resort was brutal. Really, all the climbing on lap two was rough. It seemed like it was getting slicker as I wrecked on a downhill and again on a long bridge. Luckily, I wrecked on the side opposite of my stitches and chatted with my new friend Tom for a while which made the miles go down a little quicker.
Then, I pushed a hard pace until the finish line was in sight, thankful I was done. I was very grateful the course was marked so well and I never got lost! My next race will be Marji in MI. See you all there!”
Forty one minutes later, Donna Winters, Cycle Solutions Canada, took second at 7:45:40 for her best NUE Race finish of the season! With this finish, Winters moves up to second place in the NUE Women’s Marathon Series with 29 points in a lowest points wins series. She was 13th at True Grit, fourth at the Big Frog 65, and tenth at Mohican 100k.
Sarah Brown, Honey Stinger, earned her best NUE finish this season at third in 9:11:19. Brown has improved her standing at each race significantly all season. With this podium finish, Brown moves up into third overall in the NUE Marathon Women’s Series standings.
“What a challenging year at the Crotched Mountain 100! I trained longer and harder this year than any other. I have been setting some good PRs at races, and was hoping to get a really good PR at Crotched Mountain. Well, course conditions didn’t allow for that, but I was very happy to get through! I slipped and slid around on the wet trails, got lost and did some extra miles, but I just hung in there, knowing how rewarding finishing would be.
I’ll be at Marji Gesick in September for my 5th NUE race of the season.”
Lightning Strikes Twice! Scott makes it two in a row!
NUE Carrabassett 100k race winner, Andy Scott, Riverside Racing, earned his second straight NUE Marathon Race Series win taking the NUE Crotched 100k win in 5:19:35! With just three races remaining, will Scott take the national series title?
Just over two minutes later, Derek Treadwell, Dr. Naylor Treadwell Training/Kona, finished second in 5:21:58. At age 42, Treadwell is a top series contender this season including his fourth place finish at the Big Frog65 in Tennessee in March.
Three minutes later, NUE Marathon Men’s Open Series leader, John Petrylak, Scott Pro Mtb Team, took third at 5:24:36. Petrylak leads the NUE Series with 13 points including a second place finish at Carrabassett, third place finish at BigFrog 65 and a fifth place finish at Mohican 100k.
“Rain, Rain and just a little more Rain
The Crotched Mountain 100K race course was getting a significant watering the day and night before the race; I was mentally preparing myself for what was sure to be a wet and muddy adventure in the morning.
Since the race changed venues (formally the NH100), I was curious how the new start/finish area would be. As soon as I walked in to sign up, I was immediately at ease; the new promoters did a great job with all things race related! Thanks for carrying on the tradition of this great race.
We had a 6:48am start time (three minutes) behind the 100 milers. After my usual warm up routine and the brief riders meeting, I lined up and found some familiar New England faces and a local Virginia face nervously waiting for the start of the race.
We all lined up and, after a few seconds went by, we were off! Locals Andy Scott, Derick Treadwell, Dylan McNicholas and myself were all hammering up the 1.5 mile start climb. At the top of the climb, we started catching 100mile riders right away. After the first couple of miles, the 100K group was down to four or five riders; we stayed together and began catching the chase groups of the 100 mile race.
Once we hit the double and single track, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the course handled the rain very well! We definitely had water and mud but nothing like I thought it would be.
The start was seriously fast, even for a 100K race; at around 8.5 miles we caught the lead group of the 100 mile race. The race leaders were Dylan, Tinker, Wadsworth, Brian, Mathieu, and the lead 100k group. This was an awesome group to ride with!
I started having some stomach distress about two hours into the first lap; I tried drinking and that made it worse, so then I tried eating and that made it really bad. So I decided to let the food in my stomach digest. I would resume my fueling shortly but that never happened so I started to dig myself into a bit of calorie deficit.
I was able to respond to constant pace upticks on the short steep climbs but the constant efforts began to take a toll on me. As we came through the start/finish area and started lap two, I grabbed another bottle and started off hoping for the best.
The lead 100k and 100mile group continued on through lap 2; we lost a few guys but mostly everyone was still riding strong through mile 35. As we came up to the first aid station on the second lap, I had to stop and get some Coke to try and get some calories in my stomach. It helped! Why does Coke fix you when you’re broken?
I motored on and started to see the lead group WAY up on the long straight road sections. I ratcheted up the pace in the single track and tried to minimize the damage on the fire roads. At around mile 52, I was two minutes behind the leaders but never could close the gap. The course finishes with a 2.5 mile climb back up to the ski resort and I was not in a good place to get back the time I had lost. I struggled a lot but it paid off and I managed to secure my 4th podium of the season by finishing 3rd.
The Crotched Mountain 100K was organized, well-marked and So much fun! The course has a perfect mix of classic New England single track, double track and just enough gravel roads. Thanks to Andy and Crotched Mountain for hosting an instant classic event!
Eleven minutes later, teammates, Andy Gould and Aaron Miller, State 9 Racing, took fourth and fifth respectively at 5:35:55 and 5:48:35.
With just three races remaining in the NUE Marathon Men’s Open Series, John Petrylak leads with 24 points and Anthony Toops with 101 points is in second as the first two racers completing the four race minimum. Contenders include OMBC Ohio Series Champion, Drew Purcell, and Greg Kuhn, each with three finishes so far. Wild Cards include race winner Andy Scott with two wins, and Andrew Dillman with his second place finish at Big Frog 65 and a big win at Mohican.
Dan Giroux, The BSWC, won the SS division in 6:13:37.
“Having raced the New Hampshire 100 as a 100 miler in the past, it was easy for me to convince myself that with the new venue with the shorter 100k distance was a way better idea. That being said, the thoughts of more fun and less pain had me pretty stoked for Saturdays race. Then the rain came and with it, the realization that the course was gonna be a slop fest to start the day. Luckily, the rain let up and, although there was some mud out there, overall the course was in great shape.
I knew that the race was going to start with a good sized climb up the ski hill so I opted to take it easy and not burn that match right out the gate. This payed off for me and, by about mile 14, I was the lead single speeder. From there, the plan was to ride a steady pace and to keep the bike upright through all those NH rocks, roots, and mud holes. My gearing on the pivot les was 32×19 with some Maxxis ardent race 2.35’s and I was super happy with both. Next up for me, Shenandoah 100!”
Thirty one minutes later, Dominique Avoine, Mathieu Performance, secured second in 6:44:50 riding a 22Tx17 on his Exprezo T29 custom built. “The personal feelings of this race day were not that well. Those days exist and I had a too-short pre-race morning preparation. I went to the starting line without my usual stuff: Bike (SingleSpeed instead of a full suspension and full gearbox bike!), electrolyte (forgot them in the van!) and glasses (wrong pair!). Anyway, I followed the racers to set the pace.
At the quarter of the distance, I started having leg cramps, slowed down, and stopped at the aid station to make a refuel of electrolyte. It was too late, sadly. I managed it and finally found my legs after 70 km finishing strong after having a throttle pace race. This was my second SS race for an endurance distance and I felt okay with second place. I plan to go to Gaspesia100 for the 100 mile race on September 3rd.
With just three races remaining in the NUE Marathon SS Series, no racers have completed the four race minimum. However Eli Orth leads with 12 points and Tim Winters has 22 points each completing three races. Wild Cards include Shannon Boffeli with a win at True Grit plus a third place finish at Pierre’s Hole. With a fourth place at True Grit and second at Mohican, Scott Williams could make a late season run for the title as well.
57 year old Tyler Munroe, Riverside Racing, was the winner at 6:14:46.
“The race was a mass start as usual, so you never really know who is in front of you or how many. The sorting loop was just that as there was a bit of climbing in it and the Elites were ramping up.
I tried to stay in contact with the top 15 as I did not know who my competition was and thought it best to stay as far forward as I could. After the sorting circuit, I settled into a pace that was just above what I knew I could handle for the whole distance and passed a handful of riders, a few of which were in my class. I settled in to the HR and power I wanted to be at and just kept focused, making sure I made no mistakes.
I had a plan to go hard where it was hard and go easy on the road sections to recover while still carrying speed; this plan worked well all day and I had energy at the end. As for food, I planned to not stop at all as I had a Camel Back and a 20 oz bottle all with 60/40 Gatorade water mix. For food, I can do this distance on Gu alone and that is what I did, eight to be exact. I did have to stop with about ten miles to go for water and Coke.
The course was typical of the area and extremely well marked. The road crossings were well attended and all the volunteers did an exceptional job. Overall I give the race a 10 and I will be back in the future.”
Just two minutes later, team mate 51 year old Paul Richard, Riverside Racing, took second at 6:16:08.
Six minutes later, 50 year old Scott Burrill, Bikeman.com, was third at 6:22:35.
“Crotched Hundred was my fourth NUE of the season and the second time I’ve run this race. Last year, it was wonderfully dry conditions and this year was the opposite. Friday night’s rain just drenched the woods. My primary strategy was conservative; I just wanted to finish the race with no technicals or crashes as this was my last chance to rank for the series.
The course was super-snotty requiring great focus and caution on the technical single-track of which there is abundance on this race course. The first lap went very well with overcast conditions and good temperatures. The sun came out for the second lap and it was like someone turned the oven on; things got real warm and humid with nary a breeze.
Aid stations were well placed, stocked and manned. The course was marked out extremely well; I was never wondering where to go. After the herd thinned out on lap one, I settled into my own race and just dieseled through, spending the last ten or so miles alone! Overall, I am psyched with my result and super-stoked on my series performance. Thanks NUE!”
With just three races remaining in the NUE Marathon Masters Series, Scott Burrill leads the series with eight points. Defending NUE Marathon Masters Champion, Anthony Hergert, holds second with 23 points, and Nate Cross from Ohio, sits in third with 55 points following his seventh place finish at Crotched Mountain. David Harris remains a wild card with wins at both True Grit and Pierre’s Hole this season.
One September 2, The NUE Race Series heads due south to the only NUE race held outside of the USA; NUE #11, the Volcano 100 on September 2 held in Liberia, Costa Rica. The very next day, NUE heads to Virginia for the granddaddy of them all; NUE#12, the Shenandoah 100 on September 3. www.nuemtb.com
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